Review by anikom15

Reviewed: 02/17/09 | Updated: 07/15/09

A Variety of Distinct Events Keeps This Game Interesting

All my life I wondered if there were a video game completely compatible with my mind. I realized the answer was yes when I started playing this game. In Japan it is called MOTHER, in the U.S. it is called Earth Bound. It may be one of the greatest games of all time, and it definitely stands the test of time.

The game was originally published in Japanese. A localized version for the U.S. was never completed, but it's fully functional prototype still remains. No video game has given me so much joy then this one. MOTHER is a video game that presents itself with a theme that allows itself to overcome it's obvious gameplay faults.

MOTHER's controls are very typical, and work fine. It's an RPG, so controls don't need to be fluid (which they aren't). The control pad is to move, and the a button makes selections while the b button cancels. You can the start and select controls on the status screen, and can select message speed from 5 speeds, 1 being the slowest and 5 being the fastest.

MOTHER's graphics are simple. They can be dull and boring, considering the environment doesn't change much. But at the time of this writing, NES graphics are outdated, and because of this the graphics don't really matter. The battle graphics are pretty cool, and a lot more exciting than the overworld's graphics.

MOTHER's music was composed by Hirokazu Tanaka, the same guy who did Metroid, Mach Rider and a lot of other older Nintendo games. He was also complimented by Keiichi Suzuki. The music is wonderful, it has a title theme, 28 field themes, 3 battle themes and a game over theme. It's short music, but it's always exciting, especially the battle music. Basically, it fits well.

MOTHER's story is the cake. Most people would say gameplay is the cake, but in this RPG the story outweighs the gameplay. The story involves 4 kids: a young boy who has special powers, a young girl who's mom has gone missing, a young boy who is made fun of at school, and a older boy who's parents were murdered. These 4 are the basis, but the 1st boy is the most important. Strange things happen at his house which causes him to start his adventure. The story continues with a stream of seemingly unrelated events that brings everyone together and by the end of the game all of the events are tied together. It's very well done. The main reason the story is successful is because it is set in modern times with very relateable characters. This allows us to better connect to the characters and makes the story much more understandable. While other RPGs were about sexy knight guys who looked liked they came right out of an American or Japanese comic book, MOTHER has simple characters who aren't very special at all, but they soon learn that they all have their own abilities, this is where the gameplay comes in.

MOTHER's gameplay is the typical RPG, turned based static action, with some cool music. You walk around the world (which has an oblique perspective) searching for certain things, like rescuing a little girl or exploring a factory and you encounter an invisible enemy. The screen goes black and the enemy appears, unlike games like Final Fantasy, the enemy appears in front of you and you don't see yourself. You then battle the enemy, defeat it, and get experience and cash. The cash factor is interesting because you don't get it instantly, you have to go to an CD machine and deposit or withdraw cash that is stored in your account. You can do many things on the field, you can sleep at hotels to restore your HP(your life) and your PP(your "magic"), you can go to a store to buy food that restores HP, or weapons like baseball bats and such, or get special items that cure you from status ailments. Status ailments are diseases that affect your character and may hurt them gradually or other bad things. In battle, with the 1st boy and the girl, you can use PSI. PSI are special moves that can affect stats, heal life, cure ailments, and damage foes. Some can also be used on the field. The gameplay's good, but has flaws. For example, the encounter rate is very bad, you might run into an enemy the next step you take, or maybe about 30 steps later. Another flaw is the game's steep difficulty curve. If you've never played an RPG before, this shouldn't be your first.

MOTHER is an excellent game. It's has smart, witty humour and should give anyone a fun time, but it requires patience. I think you should give the game a try if you ever have a chance. This game also has 2 sequels: MOTHER 2 (EarthBound) which is localized in the U.S., and MOTHER 3, which is not localized. Thanks for reading this review.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Mother (JP, 07/27/89)

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